“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.” Isaiah 42:1-4
Who are these islands that will hope in the Servant? Well, in the book of Isaiah, it most immediately refers to the islands in the Mediterranean Sea (Isa 11:11). But in the NT, the prophecies of the nations coming to hope in Israel’s God are applied broadly, to include every tribe, tongue, people, and nation (Rev 5:9). We can rightly say, therefore, that even islands in the Pacific Ocean, including the Hawaiian Islands, where I used to live and still often do ministry, fall into the scope of this promise. By God’s grace, for about two hundred years now, people in the Hawaiian Islands have put their hope in the Servant, Jesus. But we at Bethlehem College & Seminary have opportunities to continue to partner with churches in those islands.
A little over two years ago, my family and I landed in Minneapolis after leaving our beloved home in Hawaii for me to take up my current teaching position at Bethlehem. True, we are not originally from the islands, but over two stints living there, we have grown to love the people of Hawaii and the glory of God on display in the many cultures there (admittedly, the weather is not bad either). As we’ve served here at Bethlehem College & Seminary, we have stayed involved with ministry in the islands, leading ministry trips there, including a trip next month in partnership with Training Leaders International. Several Bethlehem students have come along with us on trips to serve the churches in the islands, and they’ve been able to see the real gospel needs there.
But we have not just taken Bethlehem to Hawaii, we’ve also brought Hawaii to Bethlehem. We have the honor of having a second-year seminary student from Hawaii live with us and be part of our family during his time here in Minnesota. His encouraging spirit has been a bright spot for us and our small group many times, and we are looking forward to seeing how God will use him in the coming decades when he returns to serve in the islands. It has been a joy to see how God has used his culture and background to impact many in our church and school. And we are praying for a few more students from the islands to trickle in to our seminary.
It is my prayer that there would be an increasingly strong connect between Bethlehem College & Seminary and Bethlehem Baptist Church and the churches in Hawaii. As our students have opportunities to serve there and we have opportunities to train students from the islands, we can continue to spread the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ to the Hawaiian islands, and from there to many places in and around the Pacific Rim.
Associate Dean, Professor of New Testament and Greek
- Pray for Stetson Sakamoto, second-year seminary student from Hawaii.
- Pray for partnerships between Bethlehem College & Seminary and churches in the islands.
- Pray for all of our students from different places and cultures as they adjust to culture in Minnesota and as we learn from them.